Picky eating is very common amongst toddlers and young children. It can be challenging for parents to find healthy meals that their young ones will eat! Here are some tips to help you when feeding the little ones in your life.
- Don’t stress.
Yes, children should be eating lots of different kinds of food. However, if meal time becomes stressful, children get less interested in eating. Even if your child does not eat what you serve, do not bribe or force them to eat it. Just say “it’s not a big deal,” and try again another time! It might take several attempts until your child gets familiar with the food.
- Stick to a feeding routine.
If food is available all the time, your child will not be hungry enough to try out new food. Set up snack and meal times, but do not serve too much food. Avoid sugary snacks, juice, and over-feeding milk, which makes little bellies very full!
- Find out why your child is not eating certain foods.
You may think that your child is not eating a certain food because of its taste, but for many children, it’s the texture, smell, or even color. Is there a pattern among the foods that your child refuses to eat? For example, if you want your child to eat vegetables, try steaming those carrots instead of serving them raw!
It’s also possible that your child could be mildly allergic to what he or she does not like to eat. Young children cannot always communicate that they do not feel good after eating something. If you think this is a possibility, talk to your pediatrician.
- Let your child participate.
Even a one-year-old can help you pick out some vegetables at the store or rip some lettuce and put it in a big bowl. Let your child help you prepare a meal and be proud of eating his or her own creation!
- Make food and eating fun!
Arrange food so that the plate looks like a face. Use cookie cutters to make food in different shapes. Decorate a plate or cup with your child. Fun plates make eating a lot more inviting!
Want more tips to get your child eating healthy and exploring new foods? Get them involved and learning more about nutrition with our fun “Guess My Superfood” game!